Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Church Panel

A Scheduled Monument in Shillington, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0023 / 52°0'8"N

Longitude: -0.3718 / 0°22'18"W

OS Eastings: 511866.390424

OS Northings: 235009.331189

OS Grid: TL118350

Mapcode National: GBR H55.GTH

Mapcode Global: VHFQW.HXSY

Entry Name: Moated site at Church Panel

Scheduled Date: 11 January 1965

Last Amended: 3 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009591

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20423

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Shillington

Built-Up Area: Shillington

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Shillington and Gravenhurst

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument at Church Panel is a `D'-shaped moated site about 160m by 120m in
size and situated on the south-western end of a low promontory. The southern
and western arms of the moat follow the natural contours so that the interior
of the moat is 0.5m or so higher than the exterior. The ditch is between 8m
and 15m wide and is strengthened by a 0.7m high outer bank which is up to 8m
wide. A slight inner bank is also apparent on the western arm. The
north-eastern arm runs straight across the promontory; here the ditch is
deeper, carrying a diverted stream, and there are no banks. The eastern half
of the island is artificially raised by about 2m and on top of this plateau is
a rectangular building platform, measuring about 12m by 15m. A 2m deep pit on
the lower western half of the island is an old quarry. An infilled ditch,
about 10m wide, runs adjacent to the western arm of the moat on a north-south
alignment. This was essentially a drain but also afforded a further
strengthening of the moat.
The monument is considered to be the site of a later medieval moated manor
house, probably associated with a medieval village whose remains lie at Lower
Gravenhurst, but it also potentially has earlier origins as a Danish
earthwork, established for the defence of the Danelaw frontier.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Although partially damaged by drainage activity, the moat at Church Panel
retains a high potential for the recovery of environmental and archaeological
evidence from silts of the ditches and the material of the banks. Despite
some quarrying on the interior, a major part of the island is undisturbed and
will retain the remains of any buildings. The monument lies in an area where
moated sites are particularly numerous, potentially enabling chronological and
social variations between sites to be explored; the considered Danish origin
of the site further enhances its importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire: Volume I, (1904)
Wadmore, B, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire, (1920)
Dyer, J, 'Archaeology and the Landscape' in Earthworks of the Danelaw Frontier, (1972)
Clarke, A., Ordnance Survey Record, (1963)
N.K.B., Ordnance Survey Record, (1972)
Simco, A, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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